Bears beginning to wake up with springtime

Keep your grill clean to reduce food smells

Photo Courtesy: Michael Follis

LEEDS, Mass. (WWLP) – Even though it looks more winter, it’s spring on the calendar, and that means bears are coming out of hibernation and into your backyard.

Bears are waking up hungry, and around this time of year it’s not uncommon to see them stumble into your yard for food.

Between February and mid-April, is usually when we start to see bears.

Michael Follis spotted a mother bear and her cub in the backyard on his home in Leeds…just 10 feet from his home. “I just looked out my window and saw two bears, and it was ridiculous. Very surprising. I just grabbed my camera and snapped a few pictures.”

Bears spend time in residential neighborhoods because the food is everywhere. From your backyard birdfeeder, to your garbage cans. The two bears were attracted to the bird feeder in Follis’ neighbor’s backyard.

According to the Division of Fisheries of Wildlife, once a bear finds food in a neighborhood, they’ll continue revisiting that area.

Northampton police officer Brad Buzzee told 22News, residents should keep their backyards clear of food. “If you have bird seed, any food, pet food that might be outside. If you’re grilling, if you have torches, candles, anything with any kind of smell, even sun tan lotion. Those are the kinds of things you don’t want to leave out.”

As warmer weather approaches and people begin to grill, it’s important to keep your grill clean, especially after grilling meats and fish.

Experts recommend if you do have a bird feeder, to keep that bird feeder a distance from your home, to avoid contact with bears. Bears that are frequently fed through bird feeders or garbage, may completely lose their fear of people.

The bear population was last estimated in 2011 to be between 4,000-4,500 bears statewide.

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